Saturday, June 9, 2012

watch out Cate Blanchett.....

I took my Mum with me to the Bundaberg State High School open day. She went there in 1963 and 1964 and completed Years 9 and 10. That was in the time in Queensland where Year 8 was part of primary school and everyone sat "scholarship". I went there from 1986 to 1990 in the days of the T.E. Score. That's the system that was before the OP score for all you young 'uns. My Grandma went there in (I think) 1936 and 1937. She was not that interested in walking around the school given that most of it wasn't in place when she was a student. The original building is still there. It has been turned into computer labs and they have replaced the lovely wooden railings on the butterfly staircase with metal. I'm sure it's to do with health and safety but it's just not quite the same.

The weather was dreary with showers but we soldiered around the school grounds, studiously avoiding the "guided tours" run by current Year 12 students. We visited my Mum's old room in "D block". Then we went to "G block" which in Mum's time was the Home Science building. In my time we did one year of cooking there before they built a new Home Economics building and turned G Block into classrooms. I spent Year 9 in there, as well Year 11 and 12 English. Here was the patronising sign on the staff room door.

In my day the teachers used to leave the door open! Now, it seems they cannot get up to answer it for themselves.

Then I made my mother take my picture on the stairs which were the scene of a dreadful accident. I was not a terrifically clumsy 13 year old but I did manage to spectacularly scrape the skin off both knees in year 9 as I was racing down these stairs. I still have a faint scar on my left knee from the incident. Ah. Memories!

And then we went and checked out the memorabilia in the library. (Mother: "In my day, we didn't even have a library!"). I found my Year 12 photo. Blergh. And also this....notice which prize I won in Year 12. Watch out Cate Blanchett. If I remember correctly I did a pretty magnificent soliloquy from Hamlet.

Overall impressions? It looked like the school I went to but then it didn't. Where were the bike racks in the middle of the school? Gone, because kids don't ride bikes to school anymore. They get the bus or get dropped off. Why were all the windows covered with ugly security mesh? Because Bundy High is in the middle of town, its demographics have changed over the last 20 or so years and like all schools it is at risk from vandalism. That also explains the six foot high black spiky fence that surrounds the entire school grounds. Where was the tuckshop where I used to buy a ham and salad roll, a can of sarsaparilla and a packet of salt and vinegar chips for less than 2 dollars? It seems to have been bricked in and turned into a toilet block? Where were all the port racks? They took them away. Students can't leave their bag in one place anymore because other kids steal things. They carry their bag from class to class and never let it out of their sight.

I had a great secondary school education at Bundy High. And I'm proud of the fact that I did so at a state school. At that time unless you were Catholic (which we weren't) you didn't even consider going to the Catholic high school. Now it's packed and highly competitive to get into. There were no other independent high schools. Now Bundaberg has two more. And for many parents these are the first choice. Perhaps that explains the tiredness of the school, the cheap paint jobs, and the peeling paint on other buildings. There wasn't much that was shiny and new. Many buildings looked a bit grim. Who knows? Maybe it looked like that when I was there too and I didn't notice. I don't think it did me any harm anyway.


2paw said...

You really can't go back, can you?? It's sad to think a school has such security in place. Cate had still better watch out!! We went to the same high school as my mum and her sister. Ah tradition!!

Wendy said...

No you really can't go back at all. Still it was nice to see places that had once been so important to me.